The Conversation

It all started with a video:

Then someone said this about the video on Facebook:

It’s nice that she can speak calmly and clearly here. The rally’s that are blocking streets with people shoving journalists etc are the problem. Just the other day, one rally was blocking a bridge where a father was needing to get his infant to the hospital. He ended up having to hand his child through the barricade where the ambulance had to take a longer detour while the father sat in traffic not being able to be with his child. This is where the #blacklivesmatter is causing problems. I’m fine with it and agree with it if it is organized and doesn’t put other lives in danger. (Emph. mine)

This is my problem with the Black Lives Matter movement as well. As I said in a previous blog post, the concept upon which the Black Lives Matter movement is based is easy to understand and I can agree with it. However, as we see in the following story, how the movement is implemented isn’t always so reasonable or pleasant. In fact, sometimes it’s downright dangerous, particularly to children.

The Memphis Black Lives Matter rally shut down the I-40 bridge Sunday night with hundreds of protesters refusing to leave. Traffic could not go across, but paramedic Bobby Harrell with Crittenden EMS was determined to get to a child who was stuck on the bridge with his family.

“We received a call there was a child needing medical attention stuck in traffic up on the bridge and due to the protest going on the bridge the family was not able to get through traffic to get him to Le Bonheur,” Harrell said.

A photo shows parents handing the child off to paramedics on the bridge.

“The sheriff’s department had to escort us up the wrong way of the interstate to the child,” he said.

Harrell said after he had the very sick child in the ambulance, the driver had to go 25 minutes out of the way.

“We had to turn around and come back to West Memphis and cross over at MLK to get over to 55.”

-Larry O’Connor
“Black Lives Matter protest blocks ambulance with sick child headed for hospital,” July 13, 2016
Quoting the story from Fox Carolina News

It’s unlikely that the people participating in the protest were aware of the medical emergency involving the baby and that they were threatening the safety of that child. Perhaps if they did, they would have allowed that family through.

That’s not the most disturbing part. These comments from Facebook are.

Comment: This is where the #blacklivesmatter is causing problems. I’m fine with it and agree with it if it is organized and doesn’t put other lives in danger.

Response: Here’s the problem. That is our privilege to expect calm and clear. If we look at this through the lens of oppression, would it be reasonable to expect the Jews in 1930-1940 Germany to be calm and clear?

Huh? What do privilege and Jews in Nazi Germany have to do with anything? The commenter is stating that his only objection with the Black Lives Matter protests is whatever point they put another human life in danger. It seems like the responder is confusing how the commenter is OK with peaceful protests with the issue of a human life being in danger, particularly a baby’s, even if the protest is peaceful.

But that’s not all.

Comment: Nobody has the right to endanger others. Also, I don’t buy into the “privilege” concept. I just don’t. Sorry.

Response: I wonder if Germans felt that way (people not having the right to endanger others) about the Jews before the holocaust. Just a rhetorical question.

It is all a matter of perspective. How do we love our neighbor by putting ourselves into our neighbor’s shoes and understanding their perceptions even if we don’t see it. This is what being open minded. When a group tells us “hey- we are being oppressed!” We should be slow to dismiss, especially as Jews who understand being dismissed easily in the 30s and 40s.

A small child was inadvertently endangered by a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest. It seems the response has gone way far afield. When a single human life, especially a child’s, is less important to a “social justice warrior” (SJW) than empathizing with a population and a social movement, then something has gone terribly wrong. Also, the comparison between our current social condition in America to Nazi Germany doesn’t seem to map well. The Nazis wouldn’t have tolerated such protests if the Jews were marching in the streets, at least not in the restrained manner of the protest being referenced here.

Here’s a little more.

Comment: No, if I thought I was keeping a little child from getting to the hospital, I’d feel terrible. That’s my honest feeling.

Response: I appreciate the engagement. Again it is a matter of perspective. If we were living in 1940s Germany and the Jews were protesting the registration act and prevented German children from getting to the hospital, what would our perspective be- to challenge the Jews who were fighting for their perceived livelihood or the Germans who were living in relative comfort?

Actually, I’ve read any number of news stories about how Jewish Israeli medical facilities routinely provide treatment to Palestinians, particularly children, so it’s a Jewish value to care about the disadvantaged, even if they represent a population trying to kill you, so I don’t think the responder’s message is valid, at least when applied to Jews (and yes, I know the responder is Jewish).

I know the responder has children, and I have to wonder if it was one of his kids who was sick and in need of emergency medical care and a Black Lives Matter protest was preventing the responder’s child from receiving that treatment, would the responder be so calm, philosophical, and abstract about it?

Are we, in any sense, supposed to sacrifice the well-being and perhaps even the life of a single child, regardless of their race, for the sake of empathizing with a social movement?

It’s doubtful that the responder really is OK with putting kids in danger, but the fact that he distances his feelings of compassion from that child and the family’s situation is downright scary.

I wrote the fictional dystopian short stories The Loyalty Test and particularly The Tribunal to illustrate how badly we can err if we elevate a social movement and a cultural philosophy above our ability to feel compassion and respond with mercy.

But let me put this another way. Let me make it personal (hypothetically). I have a nearly 13-month-old granddaughter. If she were terribly ill and the only path to get her medical care was blocked by a Black Lives Matter protest, no matter how valid the issues are surrounding the protest and that movement, I wouldn’t be OK with it…I wouldn’t be OK with it at all.

My overriding priority would be (and is) to protect and care for my granddaughter. All other considerations are secondary…and they should be. Any reasonable, rational, and compassionate parent and grandparent would understand this. To those that don’t, you’ve got a problem.

19 thoughts on “The Conversation

  1. I agree with the adamant concept that compassion and mercy should be elevated above demonstrations and social movements (while social movements can be about compassion). But then that applies to more than this subject matter, and there have been tendencies for a long time that don’t care about compassion and mercy or even justice. And if we have to go to a health illustration, there was a man a couple years ago who was taking a family member to the hospital and got detained in the parking lot (pretty much because he was black).


    • I agree that the person who was taking a family member to the hospital being detained just because they were black was wrong (though I’d love to know the facts about the situation rather than just to judge it emotionally), I cannot believe that it is right to elevate the “rightness” of a social movement over a Dad trying to get his sick baby to the hospital. Putting myself in that Dad’s place, if I was trying to get my little, baby granddaughter to the hospital and somebody, anybody tried to stop me, then there’s going to be trouble. Any parent or grandparent would fight for the health and safety of their child/grandchild. I can’t imagine someone not understanding that.


    • One person justified every action they took by saying they represented African-Americans as a powerless people. There’s nothing more powerless than a sick baby. If I have to make a choice, I’m going to choose saving a sick child every single time. If anyone wants to disagree with that and threaten my grandchild, they’ll have to go through me.


  2. I think some people tend to get worked up about certain things, but not other things that should matter too. In a way, my bringing up the Michigan Republican poisoning of a town’s water supply (and not caring to address the failure in real ways, promptly like it matters) is similar to breaking one of the rules (the 28*) — except that I wasn’t trying to avoid caring what happens to black people or poor people. So, the thing is that we can always bring up how something wasn’t done quite right or perfectly on the part of hurting people. But at some point, it has to matter that these people are hurting. It’s been easy for it not to matter or at least not much or compared to…

    * I’m not referring to the 28 because that’s all there is in life, just that you will know what I’m talking about — that I hope you’ll have an inkling of understanding because it’s something you brought up.

    I did think, after posting, that people are getting “poisoned with lead” in another way too, so to speak. But that wasn’t what I was referring to in that earlier post. And subsequently, there’s been a man shot while lying on his back in the street with his hands up, while black. He’d been trying to help an autistic kid before cops showed up. He asked the officer who shot him, “Why did you shoot me, sir?” The answer: “I don’t know.”

    It’s painful to see operatives always poo-pooing any recognition of what’s been happening to black people… now, I’ve watched the Republican convention. Blue matters, but not black.

    Green matters, not so much black.


    • I don’t think I know anyone who has a universally equal concern about all social ills globally. I think we tend to gravitate toward those one, two, or several issues that are personally important to us for whatever reason. It’s not like if you care about black lives matter, that you also can’t care about people’s water supply being poisoned by lead, but people still tend to gravitate to those few issues that matter to them most.

      The thing that bothers me (at least somewhat) about the black lives matter movement in conjunction with the white anti-white privilege people, is that they absolutely require all black people everywhere to be victims needing white intervention. If that’s not so, then it diminishes the value of the white “social justice warriors” to black lives matter.

      Referencing the content of my blog post, what really twisted me up in a knot was the person’s suggestion that the lives of children must take a back seat to those of the BLM movement and the direct comparison to the plight of the Jewish people in Nazi Germany in the 1940s as an absolutest judgment.

      I don’t see a direct comparison, and I think it’s an attempt to emotionalize the issue by increasing the perceived persecution of black people in America, as if they are in danger of being rounded up in cattle cars and shipped off to the death camps. I don’t think that’s happening, and worse, any perception that it is or could, not only increases the perception of black victimization, but further divides and isolates black people from the larger population in our nation. It actually increases division, dissension, and the risk of a race war rather than promoting equality, healing, and unity.

      Also, and this is just me, the most vulnerable population I can imagine is children. To me, if a Dad is trying to get his sick baby to the hospital, that overrides all other possible considerations, so when a SJW says that’s not so, I tend to get hot under the collar. I’m a Dad, Grandpa, and in the past, I worked as an investigator for Child Protective Services in California. The safety of children is kind of a big deal to me.

      I saw the news story about the black counselor being shot in the leg while trying to work with his autistic patient. No version of this story makes sense to me. First of all, police are not trained to shoot to disable, but the officer shot the counselor in the leg. Also, from what I can tell in the visual images (although the actual moment of the shooting was not video recorded), it was broad daylight, so it should have been abundantly apparent that the autistic man had a toy truck, not a gun. In the absence of a firearm or other weapon, and with one person sitting on the ground and the other lying on his back with his arms in the air, there was no provocation for using deadly force. The police officers were standing, they were armed, and they were surrounding the two people in question, thus the police had relative if not absolute control of the situation (and police are trained to take control of any situation they enter for their own safety and the safety of the public).

      In this one specific case, it seems like the officer (I’m playing armchair quarterback now, since I wasn’t there to directly witness the event, nor did I see a video of the actual shooting) may have panicked, though I can’t think of why really, maybe because of all the recent shootings of police. African-Americans may feel as if they are in perpetual danger from police, but matters become much worse if police feel they’re in perpetual danger from being shot by African-Americans. It means both black people and cops will always have a heightened sense of personal danger when they interact, and this is a direct result of all of the activities taking place to divide people by race and make all police officers everywhere be seen as automatic killers of African-Americans.

      If you say or do anything to make an officer fear for his or her life, that automatically escalates the situation, and that feeling may be a result of recent shooting deaths of police officers and a lot of anti-police rhetoric by news and social media pundits. A jumpy police officer with a gun is a very dangerous person.

      I don’t doubt that this one officer messed up and my hope is that an objective and transparent investigation will be conducted. If the officer is found at fault, he should be subject both to penalties from his employer up to and including loss of employment with the police department and criminal prosecution. It’s also possible that the man who was shot could civilly sue the officer, but more likely, the police department and the city will be sued (one cop doesn’t make a lot of money so suing him won’t result in as much of a loss).


  3. It’s obviously terrible (and stupid or probably more like crazy) that the marches/walks/demonstrations on the day of the Dallas shooting of police officers were interrupted with the self-absorption of that ex-army individual, whatever his name was. Those officers who died weren’t to blame. And making everyone jumpier doesn’t help. But it is not “the direct result” of trying to raise awareness and demand change.

    I agree that people are more drawn to different causes and activities. But it’s not necessary to react negatively to the ones that aren’t your favorite pick. And that is what’s happening over and over with too many people, including representatives of police officers (maybe not rightly so*) and of law (especially real outcomes). Something is wrong with thinking and policies or laws when justice doesn’t result.

    If I look at a video of a man getting jumped by officers for being in a parking lot (with permission by the person running the store), one saying there’s a gun (but it’s not in the man’s hand), I’m wondering why we have a right to have a gun but the black man can’t have a gun. The black man is seen trying to raise his hand above his head away from the pocket where the gun is. The officer pulls his hand to it.

    Then the man gets shot by the other officer repeatedly. Respected [in whatever circles, usually police union circles] officers go about saying it looks right, that it was a proper shooting. This after Zimmerman got away with what he did, a boy got shot in a park with a two-second drive up and no one was guilty, people say things were “proven” about another case when there was never a trial, and so on.

    * For instance, my parents weren’t in the teachers’ union. Union reps didn’t represent their thoughts even if someone might assume a teacher who is a representative of the teachers’ union represents teachers. My observation so far is that police chiefs are usually more reasonable than police union reps. [I’m not making a statement about any teachers’ union or organization, just that they don’t all agree.]

    It doesn’t look from what I’ve seen you quote that the person was trying to put down Jews in any way, but to compare oppression (of Jews in one situation, of black people in another). I agree with you that we don’t have a comparable situation (although we could soon if we elect a supremacist), and I was happy the police (and anyone else) on the bridge didn’t end up shooting people or even bashing their heads.

    I saw bits of a movie recently about women in England (pretty sure it was England) who wanted rights. They wanted not to be raped to have a job, wanted to be paid fairly, wanted to vote, wanted to have free speech in general and to have some say so about their own children. No one was listening with any result. Activists started doing things (while avoiding hurting or endangering anyone) to make the status quo uneasy.

    But they were being criticized and jailed and mistreated. One thing that was pointed out was that men will have a full out war to get what they perceive as their rights (white men, mind you, in English settings). But if it isn’t about the (white) men, then it’s just trouble. White people still threaten “second amendment remedies” over things like money. Do the critics of black people criticize those extremists? They often defend them.

    For decades and centuries there has been at least (to put it mildly and minimally) resistance to equality or concern for black people. When slavery ended there were other oppressions still close to slavery. There were various lawful rip offs even late in the 20th century. There were lynchings and ongoing arguments for states “rights” — as recently as Rand Paul, people were still getting over civil rights. Battle flags are still coming down.


    • Do I disagree with black lives matter as it’s described and conceptualized? No. I said that in the body of this blog post. My objection is how it is sometimes implemented. If such protests involve violence and property damage, then it’s gone too far. In Ferguson, many black-owned businesses were vandalized and looted. How could that possibly advance the cause of black lives matter?

      As far as videos go, I can’t always tell what’s happening because of the poor quality of the video or because it leaves out critical details, so I can’t always draw a conclusion. There’s a tendency to respond to all these videos emotionally and with the assumption, “of course police are trying to kill black people,” but from my perspective, each incident has to be investigated case by case, just like any other allegation of a crime, rather than lumping them all together as “it’s all police brutality.” I’m sure it is sometimes. But unless we investigate and verify independently, how will we know? I’m not going to knee jerk this either way.

      As I said, this is why such investigations need to be performed by an independent office. Police shouldn’t investigate themselves. After all, private citizens don’t investigate themselves when accused of a crime. If we judge police officers in the news and social media, it’s no better than judging black people in the news and social media.

      And as far as labor unions go, don’t get me started. They were once necessary, but having experienced them first hand when I worked for the postal service, I discovered they’re just another part of the establishment.


    • First sentence removed by the blog owner.

      As far as BLM campaign, its a load of political BS. The vast majority of black drug issues, black shootings, black rapes, black homicides, black assaults, etc. are caused by black on black action, yet BLM is directed at whites?
      Perhaps when blacks start treating other blacks as if black lives matter, then so will everyone else.


      • Dirk, I approved your comment after removing the first sentence which, in my opinion, seemed pretty hostile. Marleen was addressing her concerns with my opinions, so technically, this was just between the two of us. Just like everyone else, you have the right to your opinion but as the blog owner, I reserve the right to edit or remove any comments that I deem as personal attacks.


  4. Police unions seems to be the worst; they get out there and defend pretty much whatever an officer does, which shocks the public. They have organization names that aren’t always obviously a union (to the naked eye of the average citizen). So, if you hear someone speaking “for” police who sounds extreme, I recommend checking their organization and looking it up (or paying close attention when they are introduced). [I just now looked at the site of one of these groups, FOP. I didn’t spend a lot of time there, but looked at more than one page. I think they tend to use the word fraternity rather than union.] I agree with you that police shootings/deaths occurring involving police should be investigated independently. The process needs to be independent from the prosecutors office as well. Too often, that department will do whatever the police say or are used to doing that. You’re right, it wouldn’t make sense for ordinary citizens to “investigate” or decide whether to prosecute themselves.

    I don’t think “of course police are trying to kill black people” (except, as you said too, sometimes some are) or “it’s all police brutality.” What I do think is that too often, there is no indictment (and that means no trial — and a hearing to decide whether or not to indict* is not the same thing as a trial). And too often, the result of an actual trial makes little sense (while it can be understood that Zimmerman had help from police to be hiding out for a few days and concocting a story). So these processes, and probably laws or policies need to be changed or improved; as well as tendencies amongst the individuals and systems/establishment of various law enforcement offices. [If there’s a bias against black people OR pushing government force (either in light of race or regardless of race) within too many juries, I don’t know what we can do about that or how long it will/would take.] It’s imperative we overhaul habits generally. It’s also true some departments have been applying themselves.

    Dallas worked with Black Lives Matter for their recent demonstration there. The police were very much in favor of their free speech. We need to be careful about blaming the demonstrators for something that goes wrong. The shooter had nothing to do with the organization or event. Of course the shooter had everything to do with the other “event” — his own shooting rampage. If there’s a shooting at a movie theatre (having nothing to do with BLM, but even if a group of somebody did go to the theatre as a social event), we don’t say “you know, movie goer white people should be more careful about not having crazy ambusher violence when they go to movies” [let’s imagine it’s a movie with something of a political message, say “Free State of Jones” — not sure there’s been a lot politcally made from that movie; I’m being theoretical]. Further, “how does having a terrorist come in help the message or reflect on the purpose of the social group that got together to go to a movie?”


  5. * Forgot to include this: It’s easy to get a chosen decision about indicting or not. Even if someone is likely guilty, the prosecutor(s) can work things to appear like there’s no point in a trial. But you don’t have to prove guilt to get an indictment, that’s what a trial is for (proving anything). A hearing doesn’t prove things.


    • Coincidentally found a reference to the film The Free State of Jones posted on Facebook, which seemed to argue (I only skimmed the write up as TL:DR) that issues, at least as depicted in the film, were more relating to class and not race.

      I can’t speak to police unions except they probably operate the way all other unions seem to, which is to say, they exist merely to perpetuate their own existence and no longer serve a functional purpose. As far as hearings to indict, as far as I can tell, they are hearings to determine if their is enough evidence to prosecute. True, that’s all they do, but assuming there is enough evidence, then the suspects are tried. This is true in all cases, not just cases where police officers are accused of unjustly using deadly force, which is what this all comes down to.

      Depending on the jurisdiction, I’ve heard of police officers being investigated by the State Attorney General’s office or the State Police to avoid jurisdictional and professional bias. True, all law enforcement officers probably tend to feel a sort of kinship for one another, since they all face the same challenges and threats, but there has to be a recognition that police officers can be guilty of misconduct, and that investigating and prosecuting those who are only strengths public confidence in law enforcement as a whole.

      There was a novel written by Peter Maas, later made into a film starring Al Pacino called “Serpico” (1973), based loosely on a true story of officer Frank Serpico who, amidst the corruption then operating within the New York City Police, refused to take brides and was nearly killed by his fellow officers. This, in part led to the Knapp Commission investigating NYPD corruption across the board.

      Believe it or not, there are honest people who do investigate police misconduct and take steps to root it out. As you said, the Dallas P.D. was actually working with Black Lives Matter, so we see the police department of a large, American city in Texas no less, can be a force for good. I read stories every day of officers going above and beyond to not just do their jobs, but to help people. I suppose we could just draw lines and say its black lives matter vs. law enforcement, but that goes against everything I believe about forging a viable solution to this mess. We have to stop letting the rhetoric we see in news and social media cause division and realize the real problem isn’t black people or law enforcement, but those political forces who stand to profit by dividing America, inciting mass riots, and using that as a justification for repealing many/most/all of our civil rights (yes, I probably sound paranoid). I saw a bumper sticker once that seems appropriate: “I love my country, but I fear my government.”


  6. I was thinking about what inspired this blog post in the first place, and it’s the incredible idea that a white social justice warrior (SWJ) would put a group of protesters ahead of getting a sick baby to the hospital. If I was that kid’s father, I’d feel frantic, yet the SWJ in question, who is also a Dad, felt nothing. He couldn’t even empathize. He’d integrated a social movement into his identity so completely, he forgot how to feel what a Dad fields when he’s trying to protect his child. That’s what I don’t get. Police and BLM people aside, I’ll side with the sick kid every single time. There is no excuse to throwing children to the wolves to improve your social “coolness” with other white SJWs and the BLM movement. In fact, I bet a lot of African-American parents, parents who deeply care for their children, would agree with me.


  7. Want to clarify. When I talked about laws and policies and habits, I was meaning particularly the processes in police departments and prosecution departments or outfits. I wasn’t referring to anything like “gun control” (although the Constitution uses the term “well-regulated”). My only reference to the second amendment was my wondering why the black guy can’t have a gun. We might want to remember the poetic story about somebody coming for one group, then another and another, no one helping. Then there’s no one to help you.

    No, I don’t think “the police” are coming for black people. But I absolutely agree and very much value the notion, “there has to be a recognition that police officers can be guilty of misconduct, and that investigating and prosecuting those who are only strength[en]s public confidence in law enforcement as a whole.”


  8. “Are we, in any sense, supposed to sacrifice the well-being and perhaps even the life of a single child, regardless of their race, for the sake of empathizing with a social movement?”

    “…yet the SWJ in question, who is also a Dad, felt nothing. He couldn’t even empathize. He’d integrated a social movement into his identity so completely, he forgot how to feel what a Dad fie…”

    “…”Again it is a matter of perspective. If we were living in 1940s Germany and the Jews were protesting the registration act and prevented German children from getting to the hospital, what would our perspective be- to challenge the Jews who were fighting for their perceived livelihood…”.”

    The problem in the SJW’s eyes is that the Jews in the 1930’s were as docile as sheep in most cases… and they were that docile under the persecution they suffered because they wanted so badly to be German, and law-abiding…not separate as Jews within Germany. The SJW you referenced above apparantly sees the BLM people acting as goatish as is necessary not to be killed for their protest. But he forget that the Jews in Germany did not protest…or if they did, there is little to no record of it because every protest was slammed immediately by the Brownshirts assigned to the area…which is rather the point, isn’t it? THE BLM people had permits, and the Police assisting them, and it got out of hand anyway because the people involved were not raised in the 50’s, under that 50’s circumstances, and thus are not able to contain themselves as well,, as say, Martin Luther King did in his protests that were against the law at the time, and thus were ‘civil disobedience’.

    Lack of perspective, and the reasons for it, are difficult to isolate, and attribut blame to.. One has to literally say, ‘except when a child’s life is in danger’ to every BLM utterance to suit the inability of progressive thought to see farther than their nose.

    I greatly fear the calm, distanced, unemotional acceptance of the SJW above…and understand now why people call them SJW’s. They are partially blind, and do not even realize it, or if their eyes are opened momentarily, they see fit to shut them again in the name of social justice.


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